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Finding Your Legal Network

A strong legal network can help grow your small law firm

legal networkAs an independent lawyer running your own small law firm, you likely feel a sense of freedom and autonomy. In fact, many lawyers hang their own shingles in search of that feeling, but the flip side can be isolation. A strong legal network can help mitigate the effects of isolation.

The effects of isolation

Karen Caffrey, a former lawyer who now works as a psychotherapist documented the lawyer isolation phenomenon in an article for Solo Practice University. She wrote:

“We live in a culture which powerfully idolizes the solitary, strong hero (and increasingly, the heroine.) We value independence, self-reliance and ‘making a go of it’ on your own. Think John Wayne. Superman. Superwoman. The Lone Ranger. All standing tall, staring off into the distance with the wind blowing through their hair (and capes) as they proudly follow their solo paths.

As solo practitioners, lawyers have an opportunity to embody this ideal. No more practicing law the way the partners say you should. No more kowtowing to another’s authority or structure or schedule. No more billable hours to meet someone else’s expectations or financial goals. You’re your own woman! You’re a man on his (own) mission! What could possibly go wrong?

Raised with the cultural ideal of the solitary hero it can be very easy for solo practitioners to overlook one of the most significant health problems for which they are at risk, as documented by extensive studies and research. Can you guess what it is? Isolation.”

Caffrey goes on to assert that identifying your isolation, and addressing it, is “as important as client development, billing, professional education and brushing your teeth.”

Ending isolation and building a legal network

In a piece for the American Bar Association, law firm founder Andrew A. Dick discusses how to create a strong legal network as an independent attorney.

In addition to helping put an end to isolation, the right network can help independent attorneys better serve clients, increase marketing reach and build a referral network. Dick writes:

“A robust legal network provides a virtual community for quickly sharing information and obtaining guidance. Inevitably as a lawyer, you get questions from clients that are outside your wheelhouse. In these situations the standard options might include researching the issue on your own, spending valuable time finding a reliable referral, or telling the client you can’t help.

If you are part of a broad legal network, you may be able to access hundreds of experienced attorneys across all practices and jurisdictions. In the case of some legal networks, no matter the issue or area of law—ERISA, insurance, environmental, tax, regulatory—you generally can find someone within the network with the relevant expertise. Further, like you, these lawyers are motivated to collaborate to help develop their own practices.”

He suggests looking into bar associations and groups focused on your particular practice area. In addition, co-working spaces like LawBank help bring together lawyers and professionals with diverse backgrounds and practice areas.

You have many options for building your legal network as an independent practitioner. You don’t have to build your business in isolation: Let your network share some of the load with you.

To learn more about co-working for lawyers in Denver, contact us. We offer shared office space at two central locations. 

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